KlansBy Ardyce Curl

Jeffrey and Teresa Klan have been coming to People’s since around 2000. Teresa grew up attending Texas Township Bible Church and Oshtemo Methodist Church. Jeffrey attended St. Thomas Episcopal in Battle Creek in the 1970s. Teresa had a childhood friend who had attended People’s in the 1970s.

“And Our Kids-n-Kusins round dance group of teenagers practiced in the commons on Sundays,” Teresa said.

Years later Teresa and Jeffrey decided to investigate People’s Sunday services for themselves. Teresa said, “We were looking for the language and structure to convey our beliefs to our young sons (then ages 3 and 5), We wanted them to be exposed to diversity through different religious cultures, and wanted support for what to do at the death of my parents.”

Jeffrey said, “We hoped People’s Church attendees had the same mental outlook and attitude as we had; and we were rewarded as many of the congregation members share many similar values as we do.

“I appreciate that there are no bad religions, no creed to follow,” Jeffrey added.

Teresa said, “I’ve found a place to be who I am, a place to explore, question, learn, hear other ideas and be inspired on ways to strive for living in right relations. Our boys have found an accepting home where they’ve created lasting connections with other youth, and they’re able to explore their beliefs.”

She added, “I can be different, yet feel I belong.” She finds wisdom in Nature and is guided especially by the UU principles of the inherent worth and dignity of each person and the interdependent web of life. She appreciates the Sunday sermons and hearing what is helpful to other people.

“We like the ambiance of People’s and we’ve incorporated the church as a portion of our weekly routine,” Jeffrey said. “We’ve participated the annual People’s Church camping trip for a decade or so in July at the Van Buren State Park south of South Haven and have assisted in many of the church’s camping activities through the years.”

Teresa & Jeffrey have both taught pre-school classes here. Teresa has taught in the program for about 13 years, served on the Religious Education Committee and assisted with youth sleepovers and conferences. She expects to continue to volunteer for specialty classes and is interested in Green Sanctuary. She would like to see a kitchen that would work better for conferences, more active nature trails, a children’s outdoor playscape committee and a UU parenting group.

(Jeffrey, 52, is a project scientist/geologist for Envirologic Technologies, Inc. Teresa, 54, is early childhood program supervisor for Van Buren County Intermediate School District’s Family Links—PAT (Parents as Teachers.)  The couple’s two sons, Wyatt, 19, and Levi, 17, continue to attend People’s. Wyatt has joined the church on his own.)


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